Coulthard is Red Bull's superman 28 May 2006
For Red Bull team principal Christian Horner it must have seemed like a throwaway comment - promising that hed jump into the teams paddock swimming pool naked in the somewhat unlikely event that the team scored a podium position in Monaco.
78 laps later and the team were enjoying the best result of their Formula One career as David Coulthard brought his RB2 home in third place - and Horner was presumably looking for a towel. Only Christian Kliens early retirement with a mechanical failure served to put a damper on what promises to be one of the paddock parties of the season.
Monaco has always been a track to favour the underdog, its tight corners and unforgiving barriers putting more of an emphasis on driver skill and experience than all-out engine performance or high-speed downforce. And Coulthards P7 grid position was Red Bulls best qualifying performance of the season so far, the Scot splitting P6 Jarno Trullis Toyota and Nico Rosbergs Williams in eighth. Christian Klien only just missed the cut for the top 10, too - ending up on P11, just behind the second Toyota of Ralf Schumacher.
Both drivers made good starts, with Coulthard holding P7 during the opening stages of the race and quickly finding himself part of the growing queue of traffic behind the Honda of Rubens Barrichello. His first pitstop dropped him down to 13th, but others' stops and attrition allowed him to steadily climb back up the order during the second half of the race. Klien gained a position from Ralf Schumacher at the start and kept out of trouble until the first round of stops, emerging in eighth place.
On lap 40 the teams prospect of scoring points seemed to take a knock as Coulthard was passed for position by Giancarlo Fisichella after a spectacularly optimistic move by the Italian coming out of the tunnel - Coulthard's car surviving slight contact with the slithering Renault. The Scottish veteran may have been the victim of some confusion - race leader Alonso was right behind Fisichella and closing fast to lap both him and Coulthard, who might have mixed up the two Renaults.
In the event it proved relatively unimportant, Coulthards single-stop strategy allowing him to move back through the pack during the second round of stops, from which he emerged in fourth and Fisichella down in eighth (the Italian been forced to stay out for another lap when Alonso stopped under the safety car triggered by Mark Webbers retirement.) By this stage Coulthard was carrying the entire expectations of the team, Klien coasting to a halt to retire on lap 59 with mechanical problems.
During the closing stages of the race Coulthard looked well set to take fourth place, equalling Red Bulls best performance for last season. But when Jarno Trulli retired with just six laps left to run, the Scot found himself promoted into third place. Sensing the urgency, Rubens Barrichello in fourth and Michael Schumacher in fifth both turned up their pace dramatically, but Coulthard held them off to the flag, finishing 1.0 seconds ahead of Barrichello and 1.4 seconds in front of Schumacher. In the circumstances the Superman cape that Coulthard wore on the podium, as part of the teams tie in with a forthcoming film, seemed entirely appropriate.
The result moves Coulthard into 11th place in the drivers championship with seven points, while Red Bull are now equal seventh with Toyota in the constructors race, with eight points.